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Why did the Holy Spirit Revive the Ancient Order of Virgins for Today’s World ?

This is the question I’ve been reflecting about recently. We hear arguments like, “there’s no need for a vocation which began in antiquity!”  But that would mean we don’t need the  vocation to be a Christian, since Christianity itself  began 2000 years ago.

Some people object to any  consecrated virgin saying that she is a bride of Christ. They say,
“so  is the entire Church, every Christian, and also religious women. So what makes her more special …. Its just romanticism” etc., etc.

These remarks are worth a million. We can give it a serious thought. Afterall, why did the Holy Spirit decide to revive  the ancient Order of  Virgins after Vatican II, for women  continuing to live in the world ?

Already mentioned in an earlier post here  as far as I understand, Vatican II tried to remind the Church that Jesus Christ loves the world and so should we. It tried to reduce the gap between clergy and laity // religious and laity - and to somewhat flatten the hierarchical mountain, to bring the priesthood at the center rather than the top. The vision/mission of the  ordained priesthood according to Vatican II, was at the service of animating the common priesthood of the laity (all the non-ordained people of God), so that together the entire Church could be at the service of the world. The purpose of the desire to flatten the pyramid was mainly for greater unity and harmony within the Church.

Why does the Church  celebrate the Eucharist ? … Jesus said, “Do this in memory of Me !” Since then at every Mass, we have remembered our Lord Jesus Christ and  He has become really present among us, we have received Him in us.  This special way of "rememberingor anamnesis in liturgical language, makes present today what is remembered from the past.

The consecrated virgin should manifest the identity and mission of the Church as virgin, bride, and mother. She becomes a sign, an eschatological image of the Church’s love for Christ (the Church of the past, present, and future).  Perhaps this vocation  should help all Christians to "remember" who we are in the eyes of Christ, and make  the  entire Church (communion of saints throughout history) really present as a sacrament of salvation  in today’s world.
Also as reflected in my other post here  the Rite of consecration to a life of virginity  is in fact a marriage covenant  between Christ and the virgin. Maybe, the Holy Spirit could foresee  Christians forgetting this relationship of the Church with Christ. In fact,  in several countries, people have forgotten the meaning  and value of marriage  itself, which seems outdated and unnecessary. So maybe the Holy Spirit decided to revive this Rite of consecration of virgins, to be at the service of animating the relationship of union,  which every baptized Christian has with Christ.

Through  the sacrament of  ordination, a previously lay person or deacon, is set apart from the ranks of the common priesthood of the laity, and consecrated  to serve the Church though the ministerial priesthood.

In a similar manner, through the Rite of consecration to a life of virginity, a  woman is set apart from being a lay member of the Body /Bride of Christ, to identify with, and become an image of the entire Church. There is a paradigm shift.

The  Church-Bride of Christ was born when Jesus emptied Himself (kenosis) on the Cross, as His heart was pierced. Through  a new anointing of the Holy Spirit, during the consecration and mystical espousal with Christ, the virgin  is perhaps called to deny self, to lose or renounce her individual identity as a member of the Body of Christ (Mt 16:24), to  die in union  with Jesus on the Cross, and thus assume the  collective identity of the entire Church. It is NOT a call to an individualistic or solitary life.

In today’s world, it can be very painful for a consecrated virgin  to see her calling misunderstood, to feel one does not belong to any category, when we hear exclusive prayers for clergy, religious, and laity. Maybe, during such moments we should realize that in losing our Individual Identity and being identified with the Church herself, we do not belong to the Church, but being identified with the Church, we belong to Jesus Christ Himself. He is our Spouse and our Everything. From being daughters of the Church, we have to be identified with Mother Church, called to the mission of Evangelisation and New Evangelisation, that will bring salvation and the Reign of God on earth.

From the sphere of the Diocese with its traditions, its Saints, its values, its limits and its problems you broaden your horizons to the universal Church, sharing above all in her liturgical prayer, which is also entrusted to you so that "the praise of our heavenly Father be always on your lips; pray without easing,"(RCV, n. 28). In this way your prayerful "I" will gradually be enlarged, until there is no longer anything except a great "we" in the prayer. This is ecclesial prayer and the true liturgy. May you open yourselves in your dialogue with God to a dialogue with all creatures, for whom you will find you are mothers, mothers of the children of God (cf. RCV, n. 28). --- from the address of Benedict XVI to the participants in the International congress-pilgrimage of the Ordo Virginum (The Order of Virgins) on 15th May 2008.

Consecrated virginity  is not superior to other vocations. But it should inspire a  good jealousy among all baptized  Christians. The youth should be inspired to jealously guard themselves from the sins against chastity, remembering they belong to the Body of Christ.  Couples in love should be inspired to get married, instead of  a "live-in" relationship. People should be inspired to have courage to make commitments in life. Every Christian should be reminded  that the Church exists to evangelize, to serve the world, to bring about the Reign of God.

So, the next  time you meet a consecrated virgin who seems to proudly say she is a bride of Christ, you should remember the value of your baptismal calling, of marriage, of the primacy of God in your life.

Truly, the Holy Spirit’s plan to revive the Order of consecrated virgins, will reach fulfillment, when this vocation inspires every baptized  Christian in any state of life, to introspect and  have a New Evangelisation, to fully live a life in union with the Trinity, and remember that the Church exists to evangelise, to be a sacrament of salvation in this world that Jesus loves and wants us to serve like Him. When that happens, the entire Church will experience the much-awaited Rapture or Parousia.

The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come!" Whoever hears let him say, "Come!" Whoever thirsts let him approach, and whoever desires, let him freely take the water of life (Rev 22: 17).

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